The Dichotomy of Insularity: Islands between Isolation and Connectivity in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, and Beyond

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Abstract

The importance of islands in maritime and global history is not yet understood in a comparative and long term perspective. This article aims to contribute to understanding the role of islands for the establishment, preservation and extension of maritime connections in medieval and early modern Europe, and beyond. Recognising that the nature of premodern source material complicates a systematic comparative approach to pre-modern island history, it aims to contribute to this approach by studying the dichotomy of insularity, a concept which combines the two seemingly opposing aspects of isolation and connectivity. Using a variety of examples, mainly but not exclusively from Europe, this dichotomy will be considered for five topics relevant to the relations between islands and the outside world: the role of islands as anchorages, as trading posts, the insular economy, the significance of islands for sea power, and power projection from islands on the mainland (peraia).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-511
JournalInternational Journal of Maritime History
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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